Friday, June 26, 2020

Stop Me If You've Heard These Before....10 More For Your Ears

1. WARREN COVINGTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA-"Watermelon Man" Decca 25710 1964
I could easily do a post with ten versions of "Watermelon Man" but this is an interesting interpretation that essentially stick's to Herbie Hancocks arrangement but replaces the horn section with double tracked flute which gives it a laid back, breezy, Summer feel.

2. TRADE MARTIN-"Moanin" RCA Victor 47-9112 1967
Like "Watermelon Man" I could do a whole post with ten versions of "Moanin'". This version eschews the usual jazz arrangements and turns it into a handclappin', uptempo "mod" dancer with powerful horns and a blistering vocal performance. Brilliant.

3. JOHN LEE HOOKER-"I'm Going Upstairs" Vee Jay VJ 379 1961
Found on the flip of his classic "I'm Mad Again", just add your usual John Lee beat with groveling/ growling vocals and an infectious groove that's almost hypnotic and you have "I'm Going Upstairs". Clearly everyone else thinks so too because it's one of his more pricey seven inches to acquire!

4. SWEET WILLIAM AND THE STEREOS-"I Can Hear My Baby" JED International 0011 1966
On top of a musical rip off of Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" this obscure slice of white boy r&b backed by sax and and some funky organ musically sounds like a sophomore Graham Bond Organization with frat rock vocals! Wailing! Not to be outdone there's an ending "borrowed" from The Isley's "Shout!".

5. YAPHET KOTTO-"Have You Ever Seen The Blues" Chisa CH 006 1967
I don't know about you but I had no idea that Yaphet Kotto had a singing career! Though I would hesitate to categorize him as a singer he cut this hip, spoken word jazzy number on the Chisa label (also home to Peter Fonda's similar "musical career") that's a brilliant peace of socially conscious/street observation hip speak worth checking out.

6. EARL HARRISON-"Humphrey Stomp" Garrison GAR 3001 1966
This one is an uptempo soulful number exhorting everyone to try a new dance called the Humphrey Stomp. Not dissimilar to something by Bob & Earl, it's sometimes repetitive but a decent tune nonetheless.

7. SLIM HARPO-"Folsom Prison Blues" Excello EX-2306 1969
I'm on the fence about this because it's got a backing that's distinctly a hackneyed attempt to "update" the blues but it's worth it for Slim's voice and to hear him cover a Johnny Cash number, despite the "white boys discovering the blues and then making it heavy" musical backing.

8. TEDDY AND DARREL-"Wild Thing" Mira 235 1967
This one is a total "Golden Throats" candidate for sure! The vocals are campy and clearly intended to push some same sex boundaries that sounds like duet between Paul Lynde and Emo Phillips with a monotonous, cheezy fuzz guitar lick repeating itself, annoyingly.

9. KING CURTIS-"Do The Monkey" Capitol 4998 1963
King Curtis for me is a double edged blade, sometimes he cooks up amazing r&b wailers, other times he comes across like a combination of the "Saturday Night Live" house band meets soul elevator music (is there such a thing?).  "Do The Monkey" lies somewhere between the two with some wailing sax but these saccharine backing vocals that sound like they were on loan from the Ray Conniff Singers.

10. LAVERN BAKER-"Batman To The Rescue" Brunswick 55297 1966
Essentially a reworking of her 1956 hit "Jim Dandy" with new lyrics and some wailing Billy Preston style organ (and an intro starting with the "Batman Theme") this number works thanks to LaVern's brilliant vocal ad libbing and the 1966 "house-party a go-go" feel. Impossibly expensive!

All label scans courtesy of Here all ten songs here.

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